Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Waffle House - I don't mean Brett Favre

Not long ago a WELS DP told me that it would be a sin for my wife to vote for a different candidate than me in a political election.

Yet now the anonymous WELS Q & A fella says it would be ok to vote for a female candidate. Can you have it both ways in the WELS???

Does the Biblical headship principal apply in society or not?

http://www.wels.net/

107 comments:

Anonymous said...

"Can you have it both ways in the WELS?" Sure, as long as you recognize that both the D.P.'s comment (perhaps quoted out of context by you) must have been his own personal opinion, and not WELS doctrine.

(Yawn... next topic please.)

Tim Niedfeldt said...

It's quite possible your DP is just off his rocker or a leftover throwback to Leave it to Beaver. It wouldn't be the first time personal bias has clouded the application of biblical principles. His wife probably walks 4 feet behind him as well and wears ankle length skirts.

Although I've heard of a few pastors like that I've never actually met one. Although I think my pastor out east had certain old school traits like that.

I think the principal of headship does NOT apply in society and remains for the family and the church.

Tim Niedfeldt

John said...

The DP may just be off his rocker but from my read of it that is the doctrine of the WELS. The headship principal does extend to society. Just check back on how St. James in the Twin Cities was booted out when they contended that the headship principal did not extend into society.

stjames

Anonymous said...

Tim,

Better read up on your WELS doctrine which says this "principle" extends into society. As a WELS minister you should know this. I am sure you will retract your error.

Mark

Tim Niedfeldt said...

I bet you the principle does not extend into society or more accurately is pretty silent on how the headship principle applies to society. If anyone can point me to a WELS doctrinal statement on that I'd love to read it. I figure all y'alls might just have that handy.

Then the danger lies in the individuals who take a vague and undefined part of the principle and go applying it willy nilly according to their own personal stylings.

I have to admit the WELS must be the absolute king of wrestling with adiaphora. All the rules making versus Christian freedom and the doctine of offense trump card...

Tim Niedfeldt

John said...

www.role of men and women

Please note number 20.

Tim Niedfeldt said...

Thanks for the link..So to make Mark happy I will retract that the principle does not apply to society.

However there's not a stitch in there as to application of course. So each application of the principle has to be wrestled with individually and I would not trust any person...even a DP..if they will hand down pronouncements like that.

additionally the passages listed to support this are a bit of a stretch. The ephesians passage says we are to "Live as Children of light"...Well duh!! You can apply that to anything

6Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of such things God's wrath comes on those who are disobedient. 7Therefore do not be partners with them.

8For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9(for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10and find out what pleases the Lord. 11Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:
"Wake up, O sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you."

15Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord's will is.

The I Cor passage

3Now I want you to realize that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.

is in context with propriety in worship. I guess I am not seeing how these are the passages that tell me specifically to apply the headship principle in society.

Help me out here..


Tim

Anonymous said...

Tim,

John showed you that the WELS does indeed teach that this "principle" (sic) extends into all areas of life, society included. That its teachers refuse to apply it suggests either hypocrisy or cowardice. As you will see, the teachers say "well, Scripture doesn't apply it much so we have to be careful." Fine. But how tough is this. Can a woman be a drill sergeant, or officer, or hold a rank above any man?

By the way I don't agree with the WELS either and I find its hypocrisy amusing.

So, anyway, as a WELS minister you need to publicly retract your statement.

Mark

Anonymous said...

John,

Who was that DP?

Mark

John said...

Vilas

Anonymous said...

Tim,

Actually I am not happy about that because as you see, I don't agree either, well, I don't agree. But I now see that you do agree that no woman may be in authority over man in society. (By the way, what does your wife do for a living....)

And so sorry to see that simply becasue the WELS says so - and you seem to doubt its Scriptural argumentation - that you so quickly folded. Ah, the power of fear.

Mark

Anonymous said...

John,

Not surprising.

Mark

Anonymous said...

It would follow if the headship principle applies in society (which I have a hard time seeing) and since the WELS has indicated that the "vote" in a democratic polity is a sign of authority that women dare not exercise, it seems to follow that according to official WELS doctrine your wives should not be voting this November for a new president. Her vote would be a violation of the "headship" principle in society since her vote could cancel out some man's vote. Is this application enforced?

Any thoughts?

Just shout'in

Tim Niedfeldt said...

lol... I may not have been clear but I was retracting for the purposes of saying that I did not believe the WELS would say that it applied to society. And even after reading the statement...it would still seem there is not much application.

I am soo the antithesis of that statement then. My wife was already working and I still had a year of school so I did not work as much. I also had time to cook clean and do the laundry...tasks that I still retain as my wife maybe cooks 3 times a year and I'm not sure even knows how to run the washing machine. I raised my oldest two kids while my wife worked until my youngest was 2. She probably has not changed 20 diapers in her life. We adopted the youngest when he was 4 so that doesn't count.

Now we both work at the same Insurance company. She is a director in underwriting and I am a director of IS software architecture.

I think I meant to say it earlier but maybe i erased it. I'm waiting for the day my wife is promoted to Vice President and I will retire. Then I will spend my time volunteering at church. I'm pushing for just a couple of years. :-D

If you read between the lines I think what I'm saying is this. The WELS can state that principle all it wants. But for lack of any applications there is nothing to it. so is a principle with no application a principle at all? I think you can guess that in actuality i don't believe it is and crazy as it sounds I agree with you on this.

But hey I learned something today. The WELS has a statement on something I honestly did not believe they would. On the other hand once I saw it in print, it did turn out to be as meaningless as if they ahd not said it at all.

Tim

Tim Niedfeldt said...

btw I went to school with that DP's daughter at DMLC..apparently she didn't learn a lot from her dad. Eva was pretty spunky.

Tim

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I didn't think Tim was a WELS pastor...just to be clear as it seemed some thought he was?

Anonymous said...

Anon. wrote,

"Yeah, I didn't think Tim was a WELS pastor...just to be clear as it seemed some thought he was?"

He noted on the other thread that he was a minister of the web and av ministry, ergo a WELS minister. Funny a WELS minister not agreeing with WELS doctrine.

Mark

Anonymous said...

Mark,

That is a stretch....I wouldn't call him a minister in the least. Lay people can and should be involved in ministry--but that does not give them the title of pastor.

I understand there was some sarcasm there--but sarcasm doesn't always read well over the internet and honestly detracts from the original point imo.

Anonymous said...

Me again--just re-read the comment Mark and he did not say he was a minister of "A/V or web" ministry. He stated he was involved in it though--but again, he did not claim to be a minister.

You know, people stating they are involved in various ministries of the church does not make someone a pastor. It does make them involved in the Body though and I don't know what the problem with that would be.

So many churches feel the pastor should do everything and they don't have to do a thing at all! Remember, the church (all positions--male, female, minsiter, lay person, etc) is the Body of Christ. The pastor is only a part of that Body. If the church is relying on the pastor to do everything--the Body will not work efficiently. It would be like the hand working, but the wrist not working. A hand can't do much with the coordination of the wrist, the forearm, elbow and so on.

Anyways, I know some here feel the pastor should be able to do everything and work pretty much 7 days a week for 16 hours a day or more--but a church that does that is not a church that is in-line with Scripture.

Anonymous said...

Anonymouses,

Uh, I never said he was a "pastor," I said he was a minister. By doing work in his WELS church he is in the office of the Holy Ministry... as defined by the WELS. His AV or web "ministry" is simply a "form" of the ministry, just like the pastorate... according to the WELS.

Crazy, huh?

Mark

PS. Come on WELS members, get with it!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous

You said, "Anyways, I know some here feel the pastor should be able to do everything and work pretty much 7 days a week for 16 hours a day or more--but a church that does that is not a church that is in-line with Scripture."

Where do the Scriptures say this?

Anonymous said...

In what context was the converstion with the DP?

Anonymous said...

You're asking where the Scriptures say that a pastor shouldn't work 7 days a week for 16 hours a day? How about 1 Timothy: "He must manage his own family well"? Anyone who works that much is sinning against his family, not to mention his own health and well-being. Surely you weren't implying that a pastor should work 7 days a week 16 hours a day, were you? (Though if you believe that pastors and pastors only have any right to a church's ministry, that's the only logical outcome.)

Tim Niedfeldt said...

Since everyone was so good to point me to resources...can anyone bring me up to speed as to why anyone in the WELS argue's this LCMS position(Pastor is the only ordained ministry) as compared to the WELS (There are many types of ministry)

I guess I'm curious as to why my personal contribution to my church would be even bantered about as if I shouldn't have a personal ministry. We all have one. It was stated in the great commission. I believe I am also a prophet priest and king. I may not have a divine call but we all have a personal ministry. Is there something sacred about the word "ministry". Perhaps something in the Holy Confessions....lol sorry I couldn't resist for those following the comments in the next blog entry...really I was just being funny for Bob....although I'll doubt he'll see that as funny.

Really I get confused when i see these comments that are all touchy about ministry. Or is it just some LCMS folks wanting to assert their position maybe?

just wondering.

Tim Niedfeldt

BTW I also ran a personal marriage ministry with my wife. I/we would go around speaking about marriage issues using our own marriage debacle and recovery as a basis( http://www.wels.net/cgi-bin/site.pl?1712&cxDatabase_databaseID=1&id=6881&magazine=Forward%20in%20Christ ) We don't go out too much anymore.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought I can never express out loud in council:

Sometimes I think this emphasis on "everyone is a minister" and all this debating about a ministery plan is because pastors (maybe just ours) are at a loss as to why the WELS is shrinking and in financial distress. It's kind of like the Hitler-in-the-bunker mentality...as it crashes down, assign blame to others.

Anonymous said...

To Mark, I'm not WELS anymore--and I disagree with your perception...so....*shrug*

To the anon, were does it say that the church is more than than the pastor? That the church members have a responsibility as well? Check out the below:

1 Corinthians 12
Spiritual Gifts

1Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. 2You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 3Therefore I tell you that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, "Jesus be cursed," and no one can say, "Jesus is Lord," except by the Holy Spirit.
4There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. 6There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.

7Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. 8To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, 9to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. 11All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

12The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.

14Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 15If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 16And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," it would not for that reason cease to be part of the body. 17If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21The eye cannot say to the hand, "I don't need you!" And the head cannot say to the feet, "I don't need you!" 22On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has combined the members of the body and has given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

27Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 28And in the church God has appointed first of all apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then workers of miracles, also those having gifts of healing, those able to help others, those with gifts of administration, and those speaking in different kinds of tongues. 29Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30Do all have gifts of healing? Do all speak in tongues? Do all interpret? 31But eagerly desire[e] the greater gifts.
And now I will show you the most excellent way.

Anonymous said...

I posted, but it must have not gone through.

Anyways, to the anon that asked "Where do the Scriptures say this?" I'm not sure what you mean totally. But the church is not the pastor--he is only part of the Body and if only a part of our physical body is not working, our ability to funcition is limited.

We have heard on this site about pastors who do "nothing" or "very little." However, we also need to remember that it can be reversed as well--the church feels the pastor is the church and therefore he is the only one that can to anything.

Churches that go with this idea are sinning because they are neglecting their responsibility. Being a lay person does not mean you have no responsibility to the Body--you do.

Plus, a pastor is also called to be a husband and a father. We wonder sometimes why some PKs are so "horrible"...I alway point to how much time dad has with his kids. We want the pastor to have a strong marriage as well--but that requires time, which we don't always make allowances for either.

We cannot have a pastor who is a good example as a father and husband if the church is monopolizing 7 days a week. I've known several pastors who never took a day off and that I just don't understand. No wonder burnout in the ministry is so high.

Anyways, I could go on, but...

Read 1 Corinthians 12, the entire chapter with special focus starting at vs 12.

RandomDan said...

Rather than speaking of ministry and spiritual gifts, if we were to refocus our energy on vocation, a lot of the confusion would melt away.

Anonymous said...

"BTW I also ran a personal marriage ministry with my wife.Tim Niedfeldt."

What does this have to do with AC V and how does it comport with AC XIV?

Tweedle Dum

Anonymous said...

Anonymous writes,

"But the church is not the pastor--he is only part of the Body and if only a part of our physical body is not working, our ability to funcition is limited."

Who said or says that the "church is the pastor"? No one says that. It is silly to say that. Silly, I say.

Tweedle Dee

Anonymous said...

Hello!

Someone on this blog a while back used the term "high church"? What is a high church? Someone also used it at my church and I don't think it was a compliment. Could someone please help me? (Is the WELS synod high church? That person at church is usually critcal of the synod.)

Thanks!
Pat

Anonymous said...

WELS is NOT "high church"

Anonymous said...

Hello!

Thanks, but what IS a "high church." (and who is.)

Thanks!
Pat

Anonymous said...

Hey Niedfeldt, answer my question,

What does your "personal marriage ministry" have to do with AC V and how does it comport with AC XIV?

Tweedle Dum

Anonymous said...

Ya, Niedfeldt, answer his question.

Tweedle Dee

Tim Niedfeldt said...

Hello all,

First as a point of order let's at least note that in no place and at no time have I called myself a "minister". Those are other people's words..sarcastic or not...I have been called "Rev. Tim" recently. So either I have been ordained via a blog or it might have been meant sarcastically. I willing to sarcastically go with it as it amuses me.

Basically I only contend that I have a personal ministry as all christians should/do under the universal priesthood of believers. If letting one's light shine in the world and using one's time and talents for the spread of the gospel is not a personal ministry...then what word shall we use? If we can come up with a good word, I'll be happy to use it instead and not trample on the holy word of "ministry". There has to be some word to describe what believers do in the world to spread the gospel or support other christians. Is it evangelism or is evangelism restricted to the OHM? Is it being a christian representative? Salt of the earth? I call it a personal ministry in the universal priesthood of believers.

I would rather talk about what the bible has to say about the universal priesthood of believers but about the AC. The AC speaks nowhere about the universal priesthood of believers. It has much to say about the OHM. All of which I will agree with. Defining the OHM in the AC does not then negate the universal priesthood of believers. There is no negative language in the AC that other types of ministry cannot exist and last time I checked the AC is not actually scripture.

Nothing I do challenges the OHM or the AC's statements about it. (incidentally Article VII is one of my favorites). So then perhaps I'd rather hear about from the Bible...and only the Bible.. how what I do in the universal priesthood of believers is not scripturally supported. I don't deny that many people can error when they do things in the name of the universal priesthood. History and the present day are littered with examples of abuses and heresy. Indeed maybe I have erred somewhere...not said something well, caused offense, misstated something. Maybe only pastoral training could perfect my message? The right degrees from the right schools? There should probably be a list somewhere of the qualifications before participating in the universal priesthood of believers...I wonder where that would be?


Tim

Anonymous said...

Tim,

Who called you to this ministry, to assume the role of teacher of another?

Tweedle Dum

Anonymous said...

Tim,

The word is "vocation" and even my infant has one. She does not go out and tell others about Jesus, in fact she cannot, but she is a Christian and her vocation currently is to allow others to serve and care for her.

The priesthood of all believers is the Church. It is a collective, the Bride of Christ, not a bunch of individual ministers coming up with their own ministries. The same was true of the OT Church. Read especially Exodus 19.

By the way, the AC DOES indeed speak of the priesthood of all believers. The priesthood is the exalted and privileged bunch who primarily RECEIVE forgiveness, life, and salvation from Christ through those real ministers called to stand in His stead to distribute His gifts. They are not above us or better than us, but they are God's gifts to us through which He chooses to work.

Sibylla

Anonymous said...

Tim,

You wrote,

"First as a point of order let's at least note that in no place and at no time have I called myself a 'minister'."

But you see this is not the doctrine of the WELS which says you ARE a minister. You are in the Office of the Holy Ministry by virtue of doing stuff at your WELS church.

Your instincts are correct though, at least as the Church has understood the issue for the last 2000 years.

Strike two for you against the WELS (strike one, the role of women issue). One more strike and ....

Mark

Anonymous said...

Hello!

Will someone please answer my question (what is a "high church?")

Someone said WELS is not, is not what!?

Thanks!
Pat

Anonymous said...

"last time I checked the AC is not actually scripture...so then perhaps I'd rather hear about from the Bible...and only the Bible"

No confessional Lutheran would ever say such things.

People like Tim here make me sick to be a member of the WELS.

Tweedle's question is a good one. Who called you to teach publicly in these marriage workshops? If no one called you to do it, you most certainly have erred.

Anonymous said...

Tim,
WELS accepts the confessions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church embodied in the Book of Concord of 1580, not insofar as, but because they are a correct presentation and exposition of the pure doctrine of the Word of God.

This is right in the WELS constitution...and ALL WELS congregations accept the Book Of Concord including the AC as a correct exposition of Scripture.

Anonymous said...

I need to correct my blanket statement that WELS is NOT High Church. I should have said that I have never belonged to a "high church" congregation in WELS. There are both "high church" and "low church" congregations within WELS.
The difference is more in practice than in doctrine. "High church" congregations sometimes use vestments (chasubles), incense, processions and more rituals during worship services. (I have seen this in more ELCA congregations in my area). There are some WELS congregations that use all the above.

Tim Niedfeldt said...

Good Stuff! Good Stuff! So much to think about and comment on. I think for tonight I will just say that I believe the confessions are an accurate exposition of scripture...and there are definately other accurate They don't cover everything in the Bible though. They aren't laws. They are not inspired by God. Yet it appears as if I must believe the confessions are in some way inspired in order to be a confessional Lutheran.

I might say that it would make me sick to think that a WELS person would put their faith in confessions instead of the Inspired word of God (It wouldn't really make me sick I don't take things so personally). I mean there is a big difference between believing the confessions accurately explain scripture and going beyond that to accredit them some sort of divine status. I mean what were those crazy Bereans thinking when they pulled out their Lutheran confessions and checked to verify if Paul was telling the truth.

Hey I may be making assumptions.. its just the flavor I get here.. that somehow the confessions are the be all and end all and how dare anyone go to scripture and claim it could possibly be more authoritive than a confession. I'm not sure I could ever swallow that one.

Tim

Anonymous said...

I fear Tim was "set loose" by his ecclesiastical supervisors who week after week exhort their congregants "You are all ministers! Thus sayeth 'This We Believe'." So he can be absolved, but not his teachers.

Mark

Tim Niedfeldt said...

I know I am too verbose..I tend to think/write out loud...so sorry about that.

I think I'm saying that it seems to me that some defer to the confessions as if, because we have them we no longer even need scripture. That's what seems to go too far. I appreciate and accept the confessions for what they are but doesn't anyone ever want to dig into the Word itself? I understand the confessions are distinctly lutheran.

So my question is: what makes our confessions more "sacred" than some other accurate exposition of the Bible. Are they the only one's in existance or was the 1520's the only time in history an accurate confession or exposition of the Word was created? What about those early Christians before the confessions...what authoritative book did they use for their confession?

Is it the fact that these confessions make us Lutheran that's important or that they are an accurate exposition of the Word? Are we to assume that the confessions have covered everything there is to know about the Word? Lets just try and be theoretical here..but if I had a confession that equally was an accurate exposition of the Word could I say that it is as valid as the AC? What would be the rule that would say its not?

Basically I'm just trying to tap into what appears to me to be "confession worship" where they transcend human documents and have become scripture themselves to some. I truly am curious about this spirit and want to understand the motives behind it. Perhaps I'm just missing some key Lutheran ingredient. (I'm sure you'll all fill me in on what it is :-) )

Tim

Anonymous said...

Tim,

I put my faith in the Confessions BECAUSE they are a correct exposition of the Scriptures, not because they are (as you seem to derisively say) "divinely inspired." (Your unfamiliarity with this subject belies an unfamiliarity with the Confessions).

Tim, there is such a thing as a "straw man" argument, which you seem love (attributing a false positin to someone and then knocking it down). For example you write,

"They don't cover everything in the Bible though. They aren't laws. They are not inspired by God. Yet it appears as if I must believe the confessions are in some way inspired in order to be a confessional Lutheran."

No one above said anything like that or close to it. But you reaction to people quoting the LUTHERAN Confessions in a LUTHERAN discussion suggests either a disagreement with them or an unfamiliarity with them.

Tim, if you find your positions or actions out of accord with the Lutheran Confessions you are out of accord with the Scriptures. By the way, at what comment are you lashing out?

Mark

Anonymous said...

Hey Niedfeldt,

Maybe the third time will be the charm...

What does your "personal marriage ministry" have to do with AC V and how does it comport with AC XIV?

Tweedle Dum

Anonymous said...

Tim,

Even if you want to ignore the Lutheran Confessions, which really does lead to the conclusion that you either don't know them or don't agree with them, where in Scripture do you see ANYONE doing what you have done: starting his/her own ministry without a call either from God or from the Church?

Sibylla

Anonymous said...

Tim,
The difference between the Book of Concord and any "other accurate exposition" is that WELS and all of its congregations SUBSCRIBE unconditionally to the Book of Concord (Lutheran Confessions) as part of their official public doctrine.
(I think all Lutherans subscribe to the Lutheran Confessions).
But I can speak for WELS because I am a member and know for sure.

Joe Abrahamson said...

Pat,
The term "High Church" used to be a technical term that meant a congregation or a pastor believed that Papal Ordination with the laying on of hands being traceable back to Peter through the pope.

It has become the term used when someone wants to accuse another of being too Catholic.

It's generally applied to congregations or pastors who favor and use traditional Lutheran vestments and who employ only the traditional Confessional Lutheran liturgies. It is also generally applied to pastors or congregations who speak against the creeping influence of pop-christianity and the Reformed in worship styles and the multiplication of new ministries.

Some congregations and pastors who have been labeled "High Church" have taken the name calling as a badge of honor. And so the term has also come to be used as a short-hand for a conservative, Confessional Lutheran church or pastor that will only use the historic Lutheran forms of worship.

The term has been used derisively in American Lutheranism at least since the late 1800s.

Tim Niedfeldt said...

to Mark

On my bike ride to work today I thought of your "setting loose" comment. I'll tell you that it all started 15 years ago when the congregation I was in started the TCM (Training Christians for Ministry) program. I think its still around. I believe at the time it was used as a congregational evangelist pre-cursor or was like a staff minister "lite" program. It takes about 1.5 years to go through and is an intensive old testament and new testament bible study and then had classes after that that focused on things like outreach, evangelism, administration, etc... The point of the class was to develop congregational leaders who could help in teaching bible classes, doing outreach, evangelism, and other church service and then run TCM for more and more members. I was just thinking about how this synod program must be the devil's ministry handbook. Imagine all these christians actually getting trained in personal ministry...:-)

I'll submit this long message in batches. More to come.

Tim

Tim Niedfeldt said...

To Mark

to your latest comment, I'm not realy lashing out at anything. Just so you understand my intentions and demeanor. I'm just curious. I sit here more like a psychologist trying to profile the commenters and what they say and then try to understand why they feel that way. I'm sure it may be disappointing to some that I'm not all that passionate about what people comment but more interested in knowing how and why they feel that way. I always try to read a "tone" of something (obviously not easy or necessarily accurate in written form) I suppose that could result in a straw man then...particularly if you guess wrong at the tone of a statement. But Words are just words, intentions, background, and how one comes to a conclusion mean more to me. I will try to use my "so what I'm hearing you say is..." or "what I'm understanding from what has been written..." statements better in the future.
However I know that I certainly am not above using a devil's advocate approach or some drastic statement to stir up some fire in the conversation. As an example I actually quite deliberately added that web/av ministry thing to the end of my post that fateful day I joined the world of blogs. After reading so many posts I knew it would set something off if someone noticed...and they did...fast. I was impressed. In actuality at my church I'm just the "sound" guy who obsesses about coffee...maybe a few know I do the website too but although the work of the church is very well distributed across many people, we don't run around saying "I'm a minister of something" We don't even have a constitution or church council yet. For some here that would be the perfect setup. Pastor's the only one in charge and the members have no official roles in the church except as "vocation"er's. So I apologize for throwing meat to the dogs just to see the dogs fight over it. Not that I believe any less in my own personal "vocation" but I like to see how people think. I see this forum much like going to my family's house at Christmas...one long debate on every subject under the sun yet we have fun and pass the beer around.

I guess I'm still not being clear though. I like to know why someone believes what they believe. So my questions are aimed at that. See I believe the confessions accurately represent the true Word as well. But maybe I'm hung up on that the confessions don't cover everything. what do we do in those situations? Where do we turn? What if want more depth to a particular topic? I want to know when we should be going to the Bible. Are the confessions a "Bible Filter" and we only need to be concerned with those things they cover and the rest is....what? A fine example is how tweedle wants an answer about some specific AC articles. So watch below to see where i am having trouble understanding where people are coming from.

Tim

Tim Niedfeldt said...

To tweedle

My answer to tweedle was above but I'll say it again. My marriage ministry has nothing to do with Article V or Article XIV. Those articles are about the OHM. I don't claim to be part of the OHM. I don't administer the sacraments nor am I in the public ministry as a called minister. My marriage talks although bible based were not done under the guise of being a church or sponsored by a church anymore than my talks on internet security, profiling and internet crime investigation. I don't need to be a called worker to get phone calls at all hours of the night asking to mediate or counsel a marriage in crisis. I don't need to be a called worker to talk about love languages or forgiveness or communication to a group of christian peers.

Tim

Tim Niedfeldt said...

To all

To those who say I don't believe the confessions..they are wrong. To those who say I don't know them very well...yeah thats a bit true...it has been awhile since I was in them but I'm catching up (yet as I read the articles that people point out I still wonder how they can understand them the way they do) So help me out here.

What I am hearing is this...

The confessions reveal and expose EVERYTHING there is to know in the scriptures or conversely the scriptures hold nothing more in them than is exposed in the confessions. If this is true I personally would draw from this statement that there is no particular need for scriptures any more because we have the "cliff notes". My apologies to anyone who gets offended when I'm glib.

Their power lies in the fact that we SUBSCRIBE to them.

I am further hearing intonations that being an active member in the body of Christ is only reserved for called individuals. I'm not sure if I can derive that means there is a list of things we can and can't do but clearly people believe I have crossed it...I'm only guessing that it is the public speaking or it might just be calling it a personal ministry than a christian vocation. I don't think it is the individual couple mediation and assistance in crisis.

I'm not hearing a lot of things that might be considered okay for a christian to do as a personal "vocation". It leaves me to wonder what one is supposed to be doing as a christian person in the world. I "feel" that it means personal evangelism is out of scope for a non-called worker.

Please tell me if what I'm hearing is right or wrong.

Tim

Anonymous said...

Tim,

First. What you claim to delight in is called judging another's heart. Sorry, our Lord took that one off the table. Judge the words not the "intentions" which you persist in doing in your posts. Example (see, I quote you not just what I think you mean), you write,

"What I am hearing is this...

The confessions reveal and expose EVERYTHING there is to know in the scriptures or conversely the scriptures hold nothing more in them than is exposed in the confessions."

Nothing written by anyone above comes close to that. That is not reading what a person means, that is reading INTO what that person has otherwise clearly said. When asked for examples you give none.

Now here is an observation I have had over the years. Those who insist "Bible, Bible, Bible, not the Confessions..." usually have a problem with what the Confessions say or are complete novices in the field of theology. I suspect the later from what you have written. Example (see, not just a guess.) You talk about your "marriage ministry" and "av ministry" but insist you are not a minister. Hmmm.

But that is not my point, the point is, according to the WELS you ARE a minister, you ARE in the Office of the Holy Ministry. The point is, the WELS is all goofed up on this, and most in the WELS (you for example) don't even know their own doctrine.


Secondly, as someone asked you, "who called you?" The point is to launch this ministry is unscriptural. That your WELS overseers saw nothing wrong with it, shows how the WELS does not abide by AC XIV.

To be honest, I am not debating you, that is pointless as you do not respond to arguments, but the WELS position which is so clearly wrong, as you have shown it. You are simply an example of it.

And a bit of advice, if you wish to dabble is psychology perhaps you should do it in an area in which you are competent, not in theology. Example (see I use your words), you write

"Their (the confessions) power lies in the fact that we SUBSCRIBE to them."

No, their power is the power of the Word of God because their clearly proclaim the Word of God.

Mark

Anonymous said...

Niedfeldt,

You write

"I want to know when we should be going to the Bible. Are the confessions a 'Bible Filter' and we only need to be concerned with those things they cover and the rest is....what? A fine example is how tweedle wants an answer about some specific AC articles."

What are you, whacked? You must be, I say, for I asked what your personal marriage ministry had to do with AC V and how did it comport with AC XIV? (Do you know what they are!?)

Since you won't answer my simple question, I will for you, it has nothing to do with AC V and is contrary to AC XIV! Tim, I fear you are not a Lutheran (and I already know what your response will be to that!)

You want to spout off on this blog but not defend what you write!! Who do you think you are, the Grand Poo-paa of the Blogoshere!?

Whacked, I say!

Get the name right, it's

Tweedle DUM

Anonymous said...

Niedermeier,

Ya, get the name right!

Tweedle Dee

Anonymous said...

Tim,

I somehow missed this in one of your posts, you write,

"The point of the class was to develop congregational leaders who could help in teaching bible classes, doing outreach, evangelism, and other church service and then run TCM for more and more members. I was just thinking about how this synod program must be the devil's ministry handbook. Imagine all these christians actually getting trained in personal ministry...:-)

Your statement is more ironic than you will ever realize.

Mark

Tim Niedfeldt said...

lets see...going up in order.

to Mark...I do realize the irony thats why I wrote it. I just tend to be on the other side of the issue I guess.

To Tweedle Dee...Either its a coincidence you picked Niedermeier or perhaps we went to high school together. If you went to Lakeside LHS then I still have my Niedermeier hat and I'll bring it to the 25th reunion for you. Thanks for the flashback. What's in a name anyway?

To Tweedle Dum..I'm probably whacked. I do know what they are yet remain convinced that Article XIV does not apply to my marriage ministry. It talks about clergy and the OHM. basically I shouldn't set myself up as a pastor and teach in a church as a public clergy and give the sacraments without a regular call...agreed. Then just show me the list of things that can't be done by lay people.

I don't think I'm the grand poo paa...yet. I've only been in the blogosphere starting at this site a few weeks ago. However a blog is just a commentary to me. A place to pose questions and get feedback etc. I just want to hear peoples opinions, I don't care about trying to convince anyone of anything. Is there a point to "debating" online. I mean you can do it but is rarely effective. Notice how my disagreement on the meaning of Article XIV has swayed the hearts and minds of the people here....hehe.

As you can probably tell I don't get too hung up on the word Lutheran so I won't stress about it. I think that name has pretty much been ruined in this day and age. What's in a name anyway?

To Mark again

I'm not judging hearts. I don't pronouce any kind of judgement on them just in trying to figure out the psyche of an individual and where they are coming from.

I don't really have an opinion about anyone here or doubt their faithfulness or any such thing

I like you and your passion and I don't think you take things personally. I like Tweedles Dee and Dum because they enjoy sarcasm and enjoy the blog "sport" (and because they knew i was called Niedermeier once upon a time.) I'd love to get a biography of everyone though and see how everyone's journey brought them to this point in life.

as to this statement "That is not reading what a person means, that is reading INTO what that person has otherwise clearly said. When asked for examples you give none."

If it was clearly stated or verbosely backed up or numerous links to supporting evidence provided... then I wouldn't throw out more extreme statements to compel someone to respond. What might be clearly stated for you might not be clear for me. You believe this to be clear "Tim, if you find your positions or actions out of accord with the Lutheran Confessions you are out of accord with the Scriptures." My point would be then what if I believe my actions are in accord with the confessions? What if I believe the confessions do not speak to this particular application? Then my statement of "The confessions reveal and expose EVERYTHING there is to know in the scriptures or conversely the scriptures hold nothing more in them than is exposed in the confessions." makes more sense as to why I would throw that bait out there. I want someone to either #1 prove to me in any way they feel like...but preferably by pointing to resources that will explain that a personal "vocation"/ministry in the priesthood of believers is included in the OHM (and therefore addressed in the article) or #2 admit that the confessions don't address certain topics and may not always be the only source to pull from and that maybe we could just look at the bible. Since no one agrees with me that the universal priesthood of believers is NOT covered in Article I'd expect a little more footwork on #1

I'm glad you aren't debating me and you are right in that I won't respond. I'm not hear to debate. I'm here for a brain dump from people. Opinions are nice too but I'm sure my opinions mean as much to anyone here as their's do to me.


In any case keep up the good work. I'd love to have you all gather together with some quality coffee and kick this stuff around. It would be a blast. Of course I'd be calling a bunch of people together in a room and it would most likely be some sort of public teaching thing and be illegal... again..sorry for the personal amusement..hehe

Tim

Anonymous said...

Tim,

You write, "Then just show me the list of things that can't be done by lay people."

AC XIV says AC V things.

Mark

Anonymous said...

Tim,

Do you really not understand how serious this is? Again, where in Scripture do you find anyone doing what you have done: setting up his/her own ministry without a call from God or the Church?

Your attempt to differentiate your "ministry" (which as described on your old website is NOT Christian vocation) opposed to the OHM is not in line with WELS doctrine.

Your attempts at humor are sad.

Sibylla

Tim Niedfeldt said...

I do realize how serious it is...I just disagree with you. Because I have used the word ministry, what I was doing in the past is being characterized as a teaching/preaching public ministry that is part of the OHM.

See I consider the marriage ministry more in the realm of social work, encouragement, advice, and support. Now I know how some feel about CLR or WLCFS so I know I'm not helping my position by stating the similarities. But I consider both of those institutions "ministries" yet their workers are not called for the most part. I don't think you could ever define what I did in the realm of Public ministry. It doesn't fit under Pastor, Teacher, Staff Minister, elder, etc etc... The best you can call it is lecturer/workshop leader/councilor. I pretty much focused on the more practical aspects of marriages in crisis...not some traveling preacher who does marriage Bible studies. Even presenting at church marriage retreats I stuck more with the practical elements of marriage.

I'm pretty sure I will always have a hard time accepting that helping others through marriage issues, giving advice, and mediating crisis' based on personal experience is anything more than any other christian could/should do if they can. Is it the adding of a name and website to my personal ministry what makes it a Public Ministry....or is that just a result of the fact that I can do it because I own a hosting facility and design web apps. I would be willing to explore that angle. Perhaps publicizing a personal ministry or setting up a public beacon to guide people in is enough to say.."Hey this is a Public Ministry." I might even concede that one...might. But based on the nature of the content and the actual practical applications of the work I did I know that I was not in the Public ministry.

For instance at the top of this comment stream I asked for a reference and John supplied it forthwith. That was excellent. I think John should create a website where he groups all his links together for the purposes of guiding the people like me who stumble on a new group of people like yourselves and just wants to understand the points at hand. Now would that be a ministry because he's providing references, advice and guidance in a public place?

I know some will agree wholeheartedly with this but if I was not following WELS doctrine then the WELS is not following WELS doctrine (ok really lets not start that one)

I don't dispute that setting oneself up in the Public ministry without a call is wrong. I don't challenge the AC Articles. I really only challenge the characterization that my marriage ministry exceeded the boundaries of the royal priesthood into the Public Ministry. And in disputing that I continue to ask what is the "Thing" that seperates the two. The AC Articles are a bit vague. So this is an "application" question.

So tonight I read about 6 bible studies on this and some of Luther's writings and all of them were equally vague with examples of crossing the priesthood/Public Ministry line. So does anybody out there have more resources to look at. (John and Mark I'm counting on you)

Tim

Anonymous said...

Tim,

You are confused. There is one Ministry: Christ's. It is filled with those who are called and ordained to stand in His stead and by His command. Period. Reread AC V. There are no personal "ministries". The fact that you chose to call your marriage counseling service a "ministry" testifies to your confusion.

Anonymous said...

Tim,

You don't get it. Do what you want to do. Don't use the word ministry. But here is the thing, according to the WELS you are in the Office of the Holy Ministry by virture of your AV work. Silly, yes, but that is how WELS doctrine has evolved. If your church or the synod promoted your marriage workshop thing it put you into the Office of the Holy Ministry. You say you "disagree" (presumably) with me. No, you disagree with the WELS and agree with me on this point (i.e. you are not in the Office of the Holy Ministry.) The ELS also disagrees with the WELS on these interelated issues but has tried to paper over it.

A lot of conservative WELS people on this blog and elsewhere will argue that is not the case, but they simply do not know the WELS doctrine, as I see you learned on another thread about the WELS understanding of the role of women in the world.

Mark

Tim Niedfeldt said...

I wasn't disagreeing with you. I was disagreeing with the other person, Sibylla that what I was doing was part of the OHM.

People keep saying its not in line with WELS doctrine but of all the positions I researched I can't find anything that says that. Someone please point me to the more detailed information that explains the WELS doctrine.

I understand that the WELS calls people to many kinds of ministry and I agree with that. I don't think the pastor is the only divinely called person. I believe Staff Ministers, and teachers, and evangelists and such can all receive a call.

However I can't find where the WELS says that any ministry/vocation within a congregation can automatically put you in the OHM or an invite to speak on a non-preaching topic etc.. I volunteer to do multimedia/sound for the church. Its not an office. Its not a called position. It really does fit under Christian vocation.

So can you point me to the places where these kinds of things are explained.

But this gets to really my whole issue that all my verbose words are getting at.....

If every volunteer contribution to the ministry is part of the OHM. (that would mean ushering, altar guilds, fellowship donut providers, the lady who pushes the advance button on the service multimedia, the flower lady, etc...all need calls)
then what is left for people to do. Apparently just show up and sit there.

So there is my confusion. I don't see where in WELS doctrine it says that by virtue of doing work within a church it makes it part of the OHM. I guess I could understand it if I had any belief of the person who commented above you that the only ministry is the OHM. That would clear things up...but to take a phrase from a friend, "That's whacked"

Just a question..is the problem with using the word ministry a "Lets not call our work in the church "ministry" because people will confuse it with the OHM so lets call it vocation"? To me this seems like adiaphora. We can say we are all ministers. I minister when I talk with my neighbors about Jesus. I could say evangelize, outreach, or hosting conversations too I suppose. Is the question more about semantics?

You're right though Mark, I don't get what you're saying. I don't see where the WELS doctrine says I'm in the OHM without issuing a call and I don't get that ministry is a reserved word for OHM

Tim

Anonymous said...

""Lets not call our work in the church "ministry" because people will confuse it with the OHM so lets call it vocation"? To me this seems like adiaphora. We can say we are all ministers. I minister when I talk with my neighbors about Jesus. I could say evangelize, outreach, or hosting conversations too I suppose. Is the question more about semantics?"

Tim,

I disagree with you on a lot of things, but I completely agree with you here. This is a matter of semantics. Many people here don't understand that "ministry" and "vocation" are basically synonyms.

The call is what defines ministry. Vocation is simply a big word for "call". Thus, those who carry out their vocation are carrying our their call and their ministry. It means the same thing.

Too many people here simply don't understand that the word "ministry" can mean more than one thing. It can mean The Ministry (OHM, public representative ministry) but it doesn't have to mean that. Ministry can also mean serving as a holy priest in one's vocation.

That's why so many strict-LCMS people completely misunderstand WELS doctrine. The WELS says that, in a sense, everyone is a minister. What the WELS means is that everyone serves God through their vocation. What the strict LCMS people hear is that everyone is in The Ministry (OHM).

If the strict LCMS people could only understand the semantics here, a lot of problems would be solved. I think it's just that for so long the "minister" was equated with the word "pastor" in common English usage, that people have lost sight of the fact that the word ministry has a broader spectrum of meanings.

Anonymous said...

Tim,

Read Schuetz' book "Church-Mission-Ministry." Read the WELS Ministry Compendium.

Mark

Anonymous said...

Tim,

Then read the 3 volumes of The Wauwatosa Theology. The wels believes there is no specific divinely instituted form of ministry. Everything anyone does for the church is ministry. Also, the wels believes that the OHM is not generically different from any other form of ministry. You need to spend more time reading and less time writing.

Sibylla

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

You write, "This is a matter of semantics."

It is not a matter of semantics that causes Tim's or your misunderstanding. The WELS teaches that that which is done in the church is under the banner of Public Ministry. Under that you have sub categories, such as pastor, or soup ladler, all public ministry. Pick up Schuetz' book and read it for heaven's sake. Read the WELS statements on the ministry where they say that the table service of Acts 6 is a form of the public ministry.

Mark

Anonymous said...

Tim,
I don't have the time to search resources right now but WELS defines ministry in a narrow sense and in a broad sense. The narrow sense would refer to the called servant of the Word (pastor). The broad sense refers to ministry in every form. They say there is one ministry but many forms of ministry within that one ministry. LC-MS usually only recognizes the narrow sense of ministry (pastor) and all other forms would be auxilliary to the one ministry.
(I am WELS).

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

You are correct (but only paritally so). The LCMS teaches there is one ministry (AC V) and it is by Scriptural definition "pastoral." The WELS teaches that that AC V ministry is a sub category among among other "public ministries" and the one has no more divine institution than the other.

Mark

Tim Niedfeldt said...

I will do some reading tonight and give you all a well earned rest. Thank you for all the information. That is what I'm looking for. I did read the exposition that the person two comments up was paraphrasing. So far it has provided the most information but I'm hoping these other books have more on it. Thanks for the help.

Tim

Anonymous said...

"The WELS teaches that that AC V ministry is a sub category among among other "public ministries" and the one has no more divine institution than the other."

This is not accurate. The WELS teaches that AC V speaks of the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Means of Grace, which are administered by those in the divinely instituted public ministry. Those carrying out their vocations also carry out ministry, in a different sense, but they are not part of the public ministry.

Anonymous said...

Anon writes,

"This is not accurate. The WELS teaches that AC V speaks of the ministry of the Holy Spirit through the Means of Grace, which are administered by those in the divinely instituted public ministry. Those carrying out their vocations also carry out ministry, in a different sense, but they are not part of the public ministry."

Not so. What the WELS statements give they take away. See the theses on church and ministry II. 6. "The one public ministry of the Gospel may assume various forms, as circumstances demand. Act 6:1-6." Table service is a form of the "public ministry" and it is not AC V work.

Later "ruling" is mentioned as a function. Read Schuetze' book. The AC V stuff is just one bit of stuff that is done by public ministers.

Mark.

Texas Pastor said...

Mark,

But clearly the Acts 6 guys did AC V work, see Philip and Stephen.

Were they acting in an unauthorized manner, or is it possible that they were called to primarily work with the distribution of contributions, but also, to a lesser degree, do preaching and teaching, sort of like when a congregation has multiple pastors and the duties are divided up, so that maybe one pastor preaches twice a month and the other two once a month, or one teaches adults, the other children, etc. etc. etc.?

Anonymous said...

texas pastor,

You're exactly right. Mark's entire argument is built upon the assumption that the Acts 6 guys were only waiters. This position is completely untenable when you consider that the qualifications for the position were spiritual qualifications, not waiter experience. And Stephen was killed was proclaiming the gospel, not slow table service.

To say that the Acts 6 guys were only table servers is harmful in two ways. First, it takes ones' predetermined theological position and distorts the text to fit it. Second, it smacks of condescension, demeaning those among us today who are "only" waiters, as if they are inferior to those who proclaim the gospel.

Anonymous said...

Anon.

Read Acts 6, the so called "form" of the ministry was of food distribution. It is clearly contrasted to the ministry of the Word in the text! What Stephen and Philip did otherwise and later in their lives is simply what they did (in what role we are not told). For WELS to find in this account their "proof" for another "form" of the ministry is silly and in opposition to the text! IN THE TEXT this food distribution is clearly differentiated from the Ministry, "leave the word of God...give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word." Table service was differentiated from the AC V work. Deal with the text.

Your second paragraph illustrates the point, we don't know what their status was after this. (Stephen's witness is not evidence that he was in the office or not, but he was not by virtue of being chosen to distribute food.) And here is what you are missing, the apostles didn't say, you preach twice a month and we will catechesis, it says, you distribute the food, we will go about the ministry of the Word. Deal with the text.

(Ah while I was composing "Texas Pastor" chimes in) Texas Pastor:

Who said these guys were "only waiters"? Their work is (see above) CONTRASTED with the ministry of the word. You talk about their "spiritual" qualifications, of course. Evidently you have never been in the middle of a life or death fight over food. I have, it requires faith (Holy Spirit) to do so fairly, wisdom, to do so wisely taking all things into consideration and trust (good reputation) so that people know you are being fair because that is the kind of person you are. This is not a simple physical task, as you perjoratively class it. Isn't that ironic for that is what you accuse me of. I say the highest spiritual qualifications are needed for food distribution, you say such a task doesn't need it. (Oh, where is "apt to teach?")

Stephen was martyred as were many laymen and women were. This does not prove that the Acts 6 table service (which is contrasted to the ministry of the word) is a "form" of the ministry.

It is YOU who have put your "predetermined theological position" in here for you OPPOSE the text. Where have I "distorted" the text? I said nothing beyond the text. It is you who distort my words by saying that I referred to their work as being "only waiters" etc, or them being "only" waiters. I simply said that this is not AC V work and not another form of the ministry. Read the text (mine and the Scriptural text) and argue from what is written.

Mark

Anonymous said...

Texas Pastor and Anonymous,

Your argumentation is the same as that of those who support the Ordination of Women into the OHM by citing Romans 16:7 where one "Junias" is called an apostle. "Since Junias is a feminine name, therefore, there were women apostles." See your since Stephen and Philip witnessed, food distribution must be a form of the ministry of the Word and Sacrament.

Mark

Anonymous said...

Texas Pastor,

It just occured to me. Your "defense" of poor waiters is a confusion of justification and sanctification. Aside from the fact that you feel that for any work to have value it has to be considered a "Gospel ministry" by your putting food distribution on a par with the work of AC V which alone brings faith, you have confused justification and sanctification by saying that food distribution is AC V work and thus brings faith.

Mark

Anonymous said...

You guys can argue all you want about Acts 6, but you're missing the bigger point. Other places in Scripture clearly speak of different "forms" of ministry. I'm thinking specifically of Ephesians 4 and 1 Timothy 3 among others.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Sorry, titles are not "forms". The Office of the Holy Ministry is about rightly proclaiming the Gospel and rightly administering the Sacraments (see AC V). Is this person a "minister?" Yes. Is this person a "pastor"? Is this person a "bishop"? Yes. Is this person a "catechist"? Yes. Is this "person an "evangelist"? Yes. Is this person in a position of authority and leadership? Yes. What do they have in common (hint AC V). A pastor is a catechist is a minister is a bishop is an evangelist (lit. Gospel proclaimer) is a servant, etc.

Now, is this person a "food distributor?" No. However, the WELS says yes to that and more!

By the way, where is your word of institution for "forms" of the ministry (hint, you need a command) let alone for the so called "public ministry"?

Mark

(PS 1 Timothy 3 speaks of those in the office, bishops, and those who were servants, "deacons." Were these particular deacons entrusted with the Office? We are not told but the context argues against them being so. They are differentiated from the bishops and are not required to be apt to teach, or a seasoned Christian or are told they have exercise over the church of God. Nothing can be proved from this.)

Anonymous said...

"A pastor is a catechist is a minister is a bishop is an evangelist (lit. Gospel proclaimer) is a servant, etc."

Mark, do you know Greek? Obviously not. Ephesians 4 doesn't contain different titles for the same group of people, it contains different titles held by different groups of people. The construction there really says, "He gave some people to be apostles, different people to be prophets, different people to be evangelists, etc..." It is impossible to say that these are different titles for the same group of people. These were different "forms" of ministry.

Think of it as one of the logic problems. Sure, all of the apostles were also prophets, evangelists, and pastors. But were all of the evangelists apostles? Nope. Were all of the pastors apostles? Nope. Thus, these can't simply be interchangeable titles for the same group of people.

Anonymous said...

"By the way, where is your word of institution for "forms" of the ministry (hint, you need a command) let alone for the so called "public ministry"?"

I simply don't understand this "word of institution" thing. Where does this come from? The only thing I can figure is that somehow the ministry is being equated with a sacrament (cough, Rome, cough) since the sacraments have words of institution.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

You ask, "I simply don't understand this 'word of institution' thing. Where does this come from?"

The Augsburg Confession (see Article V).

Mark

Anonymous said...

Anonymous,

Forgot. Among Lutherans the Office of the Holy Ministry is not equated with Baptism, Penance (Absolution) or the Lord's Supper, but it may be called a Sacrament as it has commands and promises.

"(cough)" God bless you.

Mark

Texas Pastor said...

What is the office of the Holy Ministry? It is the ministry of the Word, as the Twelve said in Acts. It is a gift from Christ to His Church, a gift of shepherds (the literal meaning of the Greek word for "pastor"), spiritual elders (presbyteroi, "elders"), and overseers (episkopos, "bishops" or "overseers") (Paul uses all three words in Acts 20 to describe the same group of men.)

The AC reminds us that this ministry includes proclaiming the gospel and administering the sacraments -- rightly.

We also hold, with the AC, that only those who have been properly and publicly, that is rightly, called, should preach, teach, and administer the sacraments publicly, that is, on behalf of others, as a public minister, a called servant, of the Word.

That word public is key. What is it to "publicly teach, preach, or administer the sacraments" (AC XIV)? Isn't it to do it on behalf of someone, to officially represent someone?

That does not, of course, limit us from proclaiming Christ to people in our lives privately.

As to the issue of the use of the sacraments. Is a Baptism performed or a Communion offered by a layman valid? Of course. The sacraments do not receive their power and efficacy from the administrant by means of ordination, but rather from the Word of God attached to them. As the Confessions say repeatedly, the Word came to the element and became a sacrament. The littlest child knows that Baptism is just water without the promises of the Word, and Communion is just bread and wine without the promises of God. It doesn't even matter if the called servant knows what the sacraments are or what they do, that doesn't make them work or not work.

What this protects us from is the Roman conception that the means of grace must come to us only through the mediation of a priest/pastor and the church hierarchy. I can assure the Mother whose child was baptized in the emergency room by a nurse that that child is truly baptized. And I can also assure a shut-in that if they received Holy Communion from a properly called layman, than that too was an efficacious sacrament.

Now, does that mean we throw open the gates and suddenly we ask people going door to door with VBS invitations to take a communion kit with them and be prepared to offer Baptism? No. That would be not be fitting and in order. Paul is very clear in 1 Corinthians 14, that God desires things done in an orderly manner.

So, since a group of Christians have gathered together around the means of grace, and in that gathering have appointed through a divine call a pastor to publicly preach, teach, and administer the sacraments, that pastor is the one who, normally, does the preaching, teaching, and administering of sacraments. It's what Christ has called him to do on behalf of others.

Now, in that capacity, can someone be called to do just a certain part of that ministry of the Word? Sure. It happened in Luther's time. There were people called to be specifically preachers, or catechists, or school teachers. Often, all those jobs are bundled into one, because the most common manifestation of the ministry of the Word we see, and the one almost every congregation has is the parish pastor, who preaches, who teaches, who administers the sacraments, who catechizes, etc. Is a prof at one of our high schools or colleges who happens to be a pastor no longer in the office because he is not giving communion to anyone anymore or preaching from a pulpit? Of course not.

But, certainly we can ask someone to specifically teach the children the Word of God -- like teachers in a Christian day school or a Sunday School or a VBS. If a congregation, a group of Christians, the Church, asks someone to publicly represent them in handling the means of grace, even if it's not doing everything one could possibly do in the office of the holy ministry, are they not still carrying out the office of the holy ministry and therefore serving as ministers in the holy ministry?

There is Augustine's (or is it Jerome's) famous example from the Treatise on the Power and Primacy of the Pope. Two men are floating in a boat in the sea. One of them, a pagan, converts, and asks the other to baptize him. The baptizer becomes his pastor. Later, the baptizer asks the other to hear his confession, and now the 2nd man becomes pastor to the first.

They have been rightly called. They are handling and distributing the means of grace. And, it does seem like the various discussions of the formal, Christ-instituted and Christ-appointed ministry in Scripture -- 1 Timothy 3, 1 Corinthians 12, Ephesians 4 -- do realize that this one ministry is carried out in different ways by different ministers, depending on what they have been called to do by Christ through the Church.

Here's where the caution is to be given. We are tempted to throw out the word "minister" and "ministry" to cover all kinds of things. Sometimes it's to emphasize the importance of a task; sometimes it's a reflection of a false theology.

If you are not working with the means of grace (Word, Washing, Meal), you are not doing ministry of the Word kind of stuff. You might be offering or performing a service, it might be benefiting the church, but it's not the ministry of the Word. I have no problem saying that the Sunday School teachers that our Board of Education calls on behalf of the congregation are carrying out the work of the ministry of the Word. I would have a problem saying that someone cleaning the church is, or someone who turns on and runs a sound system. They are supporting the ministry, but not serving in THE ministry.

Obviously, we still observe the rest of the principles of Scripture as well -- the roles of man and woman being one of the most visible in this discussion.

Anonymous said...

texas pastor,

Well said! That was the best, most concise explanation of the Scriptural and Confessional doctrine of the ministry I think I've ever heard.

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Texas Pastor,

I don't know what you are responding to on this thread, but from what I gather you disagree with the WELS use of Acts 6 to support the view of that there are various "forms" of the public ministry, especially those which do not involve the use of the means of grace. Am I correct?

Secondly, can a man be competent to exercise the duties of AC V in one forum and not all forums of the church or only in one degree and not in all?

Mark

Texas Pastor said...

It's not about competency, it's about the divine call. Can someone be called to handle the means of grace in a more or less comprehensive way? Can a congregation say, "We're asking you to serve publicly among us in this specific circumstance..." and then lay out the circumstance?

That seems to fall in line with a faithful understanding of Ephesians 4. Christ called some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, some to be pastors and teachers.

A teacher in a grade school classroom administers the means of grace, specifically the Word of God, as they teach their children. They are not, however, asked by the school or local congregation to administer Baptism or the Lord's Supper (except in the cases of teachers, esp. principals who are called in some instances to assist in the distribution of the sacrament in public services).

A Sunday School teacher is asked to handle the means of grace, specifically the Word of God, among his or her charges in a Sunday School classroom.

A VBS teacher is called to serve for a limited time, one day, three days, four days, five days, but they are called to serve with the means of grace, the Word of God.

An elder is called to serve, and part of that call might include administering the Lord's Supper to the pastors and assisting at the distribution. Elders might even, in the circumstance of a congregation with an overwhelming number of shut-ins be asked to take the means of grace in Word and Sacrament to those people.

Would you agree that those are valid expressions of the office of the Holy Ministry, and that those people, permanently or in a limited way or time are holders of that office, rightly called by Christ and congregation?

What we have to remember is that the parish ministry as it exists today does not mimic in every instance and degree and detail with the "parish" ministry of 2,000years ago. In that sense, the gospel does create its forms.

We hold that there is one ministry -- the ministry of the Word, a ministry that handles the means of grace. Those means can be handled in more or less comprehensive ways. Paul mentions to the Corinthians that he didn't do much of the baptizing in Corinth. Jesus withheld from baptizing during His public ministry.

The office of the Holy Ministry was not devised in a smoke-filled room by a bunch of guys who said, "Hey, we need pastors!" Christ assures us through His apostles and prophets that He is intimately interested in the welfare of His Church, so much so that He sends shepherds to take care of her. Those shepherds do His work, using His tools.

In His great mercy and grace, He treats us like adults, and rather than detailing to us the specific, word-for-word, detail-for-detail way in which that ministry must look, as He did for the OT priesthood, He treats us like adults and trusts us to make the best possible use of His means of grace. He could have used angels. He could whisper and buzz into our ears. He doesn't. He uses the means of grace, He puts them into our hands. He says go --baptize and teach! And we, as His Bride entrust those mighty tools into the hands of ministers -- whether we call them pastors, teachers, evangelists, vicars, visitation pastors, staff ministers, deacons, etc. The Gospel does create its own forms.

As to the use of Acts 6, I appreciate your desire to study the text in context. We must strive to not say more or less than what the text says. We strive to avoid speculation and personal agendas. We work to avoid "I think" theology.

Acts 6 is not referred to in the document "This We Believe." The relevant paragraphs to this discussion are on pages 29-30, #'s 8-9:

"We believe that God has also established the public ministry of the Word, and it is the will of God that the church, in accordance with good order, call qualified individuals into this public ministry....We believe that the church has the freedom to establish various forms within the one ministry of the Word, such as pastors, Christian teachers, and staff ministers. Through its call, the church in Christian liberty designates the place and scope of the service.

"We believe that the church's mission is to serve people with the Word and Sacraments. This service is usually done in local congregations. We look upon the pastoral office as the most comprehensive form of the public ministry of the Word. Pastors are trained and called to provide such comprehensive spiritual oversight for the gathering and nurturing of souls in congregations."

It is in the "Theses on Church and Ministry" (found in Doctrinal Statements of the WELS), adopted in 1969 that include reference to Acts 6 as justification for various "forms" of ministry. The relevant paragraph is found on page 50, #6.

"There is, however, no direct word of institution for any particular form of the public ministry. The one public ministry of the Gospel may assume various forms as circumstances demand. Ac. 6:1-6. The specific forms in which Christians establish the public ministry have not been prescribed by the Lord to His New Testament Church. It is the Holy Spirit who through the gift of their common faith leads the believers to establish the adequate and wholesome forms which fit every circumstance, situation, and need. Various functions are mentioned in Scripture: 1 Ti 4:13; Eph. 4:11; 1 Co 12:28; Ro 12:6-8; 2Ti 2:2; Jn 21:15-17 (feeding); Ac 20:28 (watching); 1 Ti 3:2; 4:11; 6:2 (teaching); 1 Ti 3:5; 5:17 (ruling). In spite of the great diversity in the external forms of the ministerial work, the ministry is essentially one. The various offices for the public preaching of the Gospel, not only those enumerated above, e.g., in Eph 4:11 and 1 Co 12:28, but also those developed in our day, are all gifts of the exalted Christ to His Church which the Church receives gratefully and with due regard for love and order employs under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit for the upbuilding of the spiritual body of Christ; and all of them are comprehended under the general commission to preach the Gospel given to all believers."

Sorry for the length. Wanted the exact words out there.

As I study Scripture, I don't think we need Acts 6 to demonstrate that the public ministry of the Word can be carried out in different ways as the needs of a place dictate. I am sensitive to your understanding of the situation in Acts 6, but not yet convinced as I study the text, especially as chapters 7 and 8 of Acts unfold.

Stephen and Philip don't just happen to be witnessing one day and get caught up in a riot. Both were given the ability to perform miracles (a gift Jesus did promise specifically to His ministers of the gospel to confirm their message). Philip for sure administered not just the Word, but also the sacrament of Baptism.

Stephen's situation too seems like an extended amount of time spent preaching, allowing for opposition to arise and be organized.

Also, verse 3, "men...known to be full of the Spirit" is a compelling characteristic for this work as well. The apostles didn't just want warm bodies. They wanted spiritually mature men to oversee a vital part of the work that the church was doing -- sharing everything in common and taking care of each other.

You see why this topic has been the center of Lutheran exegetical and doctrinal discussion since Lutheran's came to this country. Walther had to defend the validity of ministry without bishops in the 1840s-50s, battled with Stephan and Grabau. The Synodical Conference was discussing this up until the split in 1961, and still today it's a topic of serious debate, discussion, and study, as proved by this thread.

The problem is the tendency to pendulum swing from one end to the other, from Romanist sacerdotalism to Evangelical "we're all pastors"! Trying to find the happy, Scriptural, Lutheran middle way is hard.

But it's there, in the Scriptures. Christ calls ministers to serve His Church through His Church. Too bad He didn't give us a canon law to discuss, cover, and describe every possible situation and variation. But, He treats us like adults, He gives us incredible freedom, as Paul says, "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free!"

Again, sorry for the length, it's the ol' diarretic keyboard.

Anonymous said...

texas pastor,

Do you lead The rock church down there?

Tim Niedfeldt said...

Thank you Texas pastor!

Anonymous said...

Texas Pastor,

Please answer the question. A call is one thing, being qualified is another. Indeed one can call anyone to serve in the office, but 1 Timothy 3:1-8 and Titus 1:5-9 say something about who is qualified and who should be called. Thus my question which you didn't answer, so again,

"Can a man be competent to exercise the duties of AC V in one forum and not all forums of the church or only in one degree and not in all?"

And I am not talking about "forms" but about qualifications. Secondly, the Acts 6 passage IS used in the doctrinal statements to prove various forms of the Office of the Holy Ministry. An aside, and again, titles are not forms. There is one Ministry, the right proclamation of the Gospel and the right administration of the Sacraments, that has NOT changed in 2000 years. You and the other anonymous seem all caught up in these titles as if they somehow prove something. They don't. All the offices were in the one same ministry. Aside from "apostles" these terms are often used interchangably. Whether a minister primarily preached in one place or traveled from one to the other is immaterial, whether he primarily taught or preached is immaterial. The issue is not for example that the "form" of bishop is different than the "form" of a parish pastor. They are in the one Gospel Ministry.

This "form" issue is a red herring to the real problem that the WELS has and here you miss the point entirely. You see the WELS does not use the Acts 6 passage (and thinks the Eph 4 passage supports this) to say there are different aspects to the one Gospel ministry, but different forms of the "public ministry" which do not include the AC V work. The context of Acts 6 which you and the others refuse to address clearly shows this was NOT the ministry of the Word. Read it for heaven's sake. What the circumstances of Stephen's and Philip's life aside from the being assigned this work of food distribution is immaterial to the Acts 6 context which clearly says the apostles game them this work so that they could devote themselves to the ministry of the word. What they did in addition to this work or after this work is simply speculation, as you speculate about the opposition to Stephen. (By the way, it takes but one brief witness to bring martyrdom.)

Again the WELS statements use the choosing of these men to oversee the food distribution as proof that there are various forms of the ministry not within the AC V ministry but outside of AC V work.

There are numerous examples in WELS literature (as reported on this blog) where WELS professors, indeed the WLQ, speak of those who do not deal with the authoritative preaching of the Gospel and the administration of the sacraments as being in the public ministry. You may not agree, but then you do not agree with the WELS on that point (and that is good and we can move on to other ares, such as who is qualified, per my question above.)

You say you are not convinced by my understanding. What words don't you understand" "... whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to THE MINISTRY OF THE WORD." That these men were to be men of faith as they did this work does not put them in the office. Why don't you address the clear words?

By the way, most of your posts mystify me in that they are not addressing any of the points I have made or do you answer my questions.

But I will do what you refuse to do, answer your question, you ask

"Would you agree that those are valid expressions of the office of the Holy Ministry, and that those people, permanently or in a limited way or time are holders of that office, rightly called by Christ and congregation?"

As I said you can call anyone you want, but to call someone unqualified is not proper and if they do not exercise the authority of the office they are not in the Office in the same way the Midieval Roman priests who did not proclaim the Gospel were not in the ministry. So your question is poorly framed. Not, are these people in, but is it proper that these particular people are in and is what they are doing the tasks of this authoritative and weighty office? And to that question I must say, experience tells me probably not. And when you answer my question I will tell you why.

Oh, and what does Luke 9:62 (that has been historically used in the Church even the WELS but I haven't seen it used in a long time) say about your revolving door "limited time" Ministers (eg. I can't serve on the council this year, VBS teacher this year, Ladies Aid chairman this year etc, 'cause I'm too busy, too burnt out etc.)

Mark

Texas Pastor said...

When Paul lists qualifications to serve in the ministery as an overseer he lists a number of things.

1 Timothy 3: above reproach, husband of but one wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not given to drunkeness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money, manage family well, not a recent convert, good reputation with outsiders

Titus 1: blameless, husband of one wife, man whose children believe and are not open to the charge of being disobedient and wild, not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain, hospitable, one who loves what is good, self-controlled, upright, holy, disciplined, hold firmly to the trustworthy message, able to encourage others and refute opposition

From those lists, only one (maybe two) characteristics describe a "qualification" that is not also given to every other Christian on the planet:

1) able to teach
2) not a recent convert

So, basically, the qualifications for public ministry include living a life of sanctification, an ability to proclaim the gospel (an aptness to teach), and a maturity in faith ("full of the Spirit" to use the controversial words of Acts 6).

Thus, on a congregational level, when choosing people to serve as ministers of the Word (elders, Sunday School teachers, VBS teachers, Council) we look for those who are faithful in worship/Bible study, mature in faith, and whose life is above reproach. We strive to find those candidates who fit 1 Tim. and Titus qualifications.

As do our colleges and Seminaries as they train future public ministers of the gospel. The 8-12 years in our Min Ed system help us see if someone is indeed "above reproach", "apt to teach" and makes sure that they are not recent converts.

If someone does not meet these qualifications, they not be in the ministry, for their own good and the good of the ministry.

As to Luke 9:62, there's a difference between the called worker "looking back" and a congregation saying, "We are calling you into service for one day, one week, one month, one year" (guest preacher, VBS, Sunday School, Council terms).

Also, those positions, because we're asking someone to work while also usually having other job responsibilities, are in a little different situation than our full-time called workers who are called to serve in the ministry and do nothing else.

There is also a difference between those reasonable limited calls and arbitrary limited calls, calls established to "test" someone, or other abuses of the call system and process.

Anonymous said...

Tim,
I think this simple and short essay may be helpful in this discussion.

http://www.wlsessays.net/files/NassMinistry.pdf

Anonymous said...

T. P.

Thanks. In reference to Luke 9 you did not address my scenario, those who say, "not now." They disqualify themselves. Many years of experience tells me most church council members, SS teachers, VBS teachers etc. whom you include in the OHM would probably be disqualified. (Which is not to say I would disqualify them from such tasks around the church, just from the responsibilities of the office.)

Would you give the administration of the table, the pulpit, the catechesis of new members and the defense of the faith against a well informed heretic to VBS teachers, SS teachers, teachers, CC members etc. or would you let a CC member, VBS teacher, etc from another congegation take these responsibilities in your parish? I'll answer that, you wouldn't. Why not? Not qualified and in the second case not sure whether they are - and they probably aren't. If not qualifed for AC V work, the whole of it you are not qualified for a slice of it, plain and simple.

And this is not about someone, qualified, taking a slice of it, which usually is what this conversation revolves around. I do not care how small a slice you have, you simply need to be qualified per 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1 (refute those who oppose it) and if you are qualified for the whole of it, you are qualified for a slice of it and vice versa. Nor does the the "best available" person situation vitiate the order of using the called and qualified man present to serve in this office which work has such eternal life and death consequences and such a severe judgment hanging over it. When the qualified person is there, unqualified individuals who in an emergency must serve (eg. two men in a boat), need not apply. And why should they?

Women in? Nope.

Mark

Texas Pastor said...

Mark ~

To your Luke 9 scenario. If someone says "no" to a divine call, that's not necessarily sinful. We would want to examine the motivation and circumstances of the situation. I don't want to get into every possible scenario there. But I will tell you that there are certainly occasions where you would have to say to someone that they are doing exactly what Jesus said in Luke 9, you would rebuke them for their sin. In other cases, while someone may be perfectly qualified to serve in a given capacity, it might also be fair to say that they are unable to at that time for a legitimate reason.

The sad truth here is that despite what Scripture has laid out as the qualifications for service in the office of the Holy Ministry, to often, rather than leaving an office vacant for lack of a qualified candidate, we find the first warm body who'll say yes just so we don't have to write "vacant" or we feel like something has been done or will get done. That can do more harm than good. Or, God can work good from evil...

It's disappointing to be a part of a large congregation with hundreds of members, and it's the same four or five guys recycling their way through the boards, or the same five or six ladies teaching Sunday School.

Whether people are too timid and afraid, or because of a lack of education and training, or because of lazy, sinful natures, it's sad.

You wrote: "Would you give the administration of the table, the pulpit, the catechesis of new members and the defense of the faith against a well informed heretic to VBS teachers, SS teachers, teachers, CC members etc...?I'll answer that, you wouldn't. Why not? Not qualified."

What is the qualifier that you're looking for here? Is it professional theological training? Is it ordination? Is it something other than what Paul says in 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1?

Because, while I'm granting that there are people being asked to do things who may not be "apt to teach" or able to "refute those who teach the opposite," there are many, many spiritually mature leaders in our congregations who are apt to teach even if they didn't go to MLC and are able to refute heretics, even if they didn't spend four years at the Seminary.

Anonymous said...

"If not qualifed [sic] for AC V work, the whole of it you are not qualified for a slice of it, plain and simple."

Why not? I simply don't understand the logic here. I've never come across anything in Scripture of the Confessions that makes this point.

In fact, Scripture contains examples to the contrary. Take, for example, the qualifications for being an apostle. Not only were the regular 1 Timothy 3 qualifications in place, but the additional qualification of "witness of Christ from baptism to ascension" was added (Acts 1). Does this mean that anyone wanting to be in the holy ministry needs this qualification? Nope. This was a special qualification meant for a specific form of ministry. Not all forms of ministry had this qualification. Christ gave his church the freedom to set this qualification and to define this form of ministry. The same is true today.

Anonymous said...

T.P.

You write, "If someone says 'no' to a divine call, that's not necessarily sinful." No one suggested that, but if you say such (CC members etc.) are in the Office of the Holy Ministry and they turn back, they are out. The point being, this is serious business and the normal business of the church does not qualify as the work of AC V.

The question is simple, "Would you give the administration of the table, the pulpit, the catechesis of new members and the defense of the faith against a well informed heretic to VBS teachers, SS teachers, teachers, CC members etc. or would you let a CC member, VBS teacher, etc from another congegation take these responsibilities in your parish?"

The answer is clear, no. They are not qualified for the work of AC V. You know it, I know it and the American people know it. You simply wouldn't do it.

You ask "What is the qualifier that you're looking for here? Is it professional theological training? Is it ordination? Is it something other than what Paul says in 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1."

Why would you ask that? In my post I clearly said "you simply need to be qualified per 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1 (refute those who oppose it)." What is not clear there? The matter of training and ordination are what the church uses to insure and announce this person is qualified, as I say "per 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1."

You hypothesize, "there are many, many spiritually mature leaders in our congregations who are apt to teach even if they didn't go to MLC and are able to refute heretics, even if they didn't spend four years at the Seminary." Oh? Competent in Hebrew and Greek, German, Latin, conversant with the Lutheran Confessions and have taken an oath to teach according to it, have been tested and have been proved (or is that stuff not necessary) and could handle a well prepared Baptist theologian who dropped in on their class? Really? "Many, many"? I doubt it. Regardless, if there are such a one, ordain him (in the full sense of that word, i.e. examiniation, call and ordination) and place him into the Office with all the responsibilities and accountability that governs this office. But how does one know from parish to parish? That is what the seminary training and synodical approval is about. Sure, that is not mandated, but how the church in her wisdom has gone about it.

But you see, this is not the case with 99% of those who do this work. You know it, I know it and the American people know it. Again, see my question. They are not competent/qualified (whether many pastors are is a discussion for another day). Now, are they competent to help run the financial affairs of the church, direct its outreach efforts, count they money, assist parents in telling Bible Stories and teaching math to the kids etc.? Sure, and thank God for such. But that does not require one to be in the Office of the Holy Ministry with its mandated qualifications and profound responsibilities and its severe accountablity.

Mark

Anonymous said...

Anonymous (your post came up after I responded to T.P. so some but not all of my post to him should help, but...)

You write,

"Why not? I simply don't understand the logic here. I've never come across anything in Scripture of the Confessions that makes this point."

The logic is simple, in fact, there is no real logic here, either you are qualified for the work - whether it is a big slice or a small slice - or not. The Scriptures are clear (1 Tim 3, Titus 1). What the Scriptures do not say is that you can be less qualified is you have lesser responsibilities or a narrow scope of work.

This false logic, your assertion - that you don't need to be qualified for a small slice - is exposed by my question, "Would you give the administration of the table, the pulpit, the catechesis of new members and the defense of the faith against a well informed heretic to VBS teachers, SS teachers, teachers, CC members etc. or would you let a CC member, VBS teacher, etc from another congegation take these responsibilities in your parish?"

No pastor or church would. Why? These people are not qualified. Qualified for what? The office. Too often this question is put into the "amount of time or responsibility" area. But that is not how the Scriptures define the qualifications. Where in Scripture does it say you can be less qualified to be in the Office for a smaller slice of work, as you assert?

Your example about the apostolic witness is way off. You write, "Christ gave his church the freedom to set this qualification and to define this form of ministry. The same is true today."

What!? The church did not set tis qualification, Christ did! He said that they would be witnesses of these things, they would be led into all truth. The church did not say, "Here is the qualification for being an apostle." Christ chose the apostles!

And anymore than did the church set the qualifications for being an apostle does the church today set the qualificatons for those in the Office. Christ does through his apostle and they are clear (1 Tim 3, Titus 1). The church ignores those to her peril.

You say "The same is true today" that is, that the church can set qualifications. What?! So the church can say, "ony 6 foot tall, blonde blue eyed men can be preachers?" Hmm... Hardly. The church determines whether a candidate meets those of 1 Tim 3 and Titus 1.

Mark

Anonymous said...

T.P. and Anonymous,

Here is an example that might help you. You have a 13 year old girl, a recent confirmand, good kid, who serves as an assistant for the VBS teacher. She answers the 4 year olds questions, tells them the Popscicle sticks they are glueing together form a cross like the one our Lord died on. She is in the Office of the Holy Ministry of the WELS, and since it is viewed as an adiaphoron, she is able to be ordained, don the stole.

Now read 1 Timothy 3:1-8 and Titus 1:5-8 and read Augustana V and the Tractatus on the issue.

Now do you see?

Mark

Anonymous said...

Sorry, didn't edit well.

In my post to anonymous at 9:15, second paragraph, second line should read

What the Scriptures do not say is that you can be less qualified IF you have lesser responsibilities or a narrow scope of work.

Carry on,
Mark

Anonymous said...

"What the Scriptures do not say is that you can be less qualified IF you have lesser responsibilities or a narrow scope of work."

Actually they do. Look at 1 Timothy 3. Paul lists the qualifications for overseers and deacons.

(Now, you will immediately claim that overseers are in the ministry while deacons aren't. But that explanation just doesn't hold any water. It simply doesn't make any sense that Paul's though process went like this: "OK, I will give the qualifications for overseers who are in the ministry and then, without any acknowledgment, I'm immediately going to change the subject to the qualifications for elders, who aren't in the ministry, and I'll just assume that people will see that I changed from ministers to laity." Context clearly supports the idea that Paul considered both overseers and deacons to be in the ministry.)

Overseers had a broader spectrum of duties and thus the qualifications are more numerous. Deacons had a narrower scope of service and thus their qualifications were lesser. It's pretty clear.

Anonymous said...

"So the church can say, "ony 6 foot tall, blonde blue eyed men can be preachers?" Hmm... Hardly."

"You have a 13 year old girl...and since it is viewed as an adiaphoron, she is able to be ordained, don the stole."

Both of these are pretty gross caricatures which you know as well as anyone no one in the WELS has ever said or done or even thought about. Such argumentation only reveals that you can't make a convincing argument based on the facts.

Anonymous said...

By the way, you completely missed the point of the apostle analogy. Here's the point: The qualifications for the office of apostle (set by Christ and affirmed by the church) were different than the qualifications for overseers, deacons, evangelists, etc. Thus it is impossible to argue that everyone in the ministry has to have all of the qualifications set for those in the ministry. It is crystal clear from Scripture that those serving in different "forms" (I prefer scopes) of ministry have different qualifications. For example, the Apostle Peter and the Pastor Timothy were both in the ministerial office, but they did not have identical qualifications.

Anonymous said...

All,

Oh, please.

Anon at 12:25. There is nothing in this context that says these deacons held the Office. Read the text for once. "Episkope" office of oversight: nothing for deacons. Apt to teach: not required of deacons. Run the church: not required of deacons. And you really have to be kidding right? Of course Paul changes the subject! Duh, read the text, he addresses first the issue of bishops, THEN, deacons. Duh. He first talks about those who have oversight, who must teach, who must manage the household and THEN he, (not I) switches to deacons, who do not have the office of oversight, nor must be able to teach, nor who must rule the church of God. Indeed, read the whole epistle, Paul addresses many groups. Are "wives" in the ministry because Paul instructs them in this same "context" 3:11?

The context is crystal clear when you don't read stuff into it as you do. Rather than reading the text first you proceed with the opinion they are both in the office with no evidence there. I argue from the text, you from the imagination of your mind. Enthusiasm.

Anon at 12:28.

No, it is you (or whoever I was responding to) who said the that church sets the qualifications. This blonde hair blue eyes extra-biblical qualification is no more binding that any you say the church can come up with. No difference, and the absurdity of this "qualification" speaks to the abusrd assertion I was addressing, that the church sets the qualifications.

And secondly what is the caricature about this 13 year old girl helping out at VBS? That is no caricature, that happens every summer! It is the WELS who says that this girl is in the Office of the Holy Ministry and as thus is "able to be" ordained. Or do you disagree with WELS doctrine? The stole is just a hunk of cloth signifying one is in the Office, she is in the Office of the Holy Ministry, if you believe the WELS. Sadly the caricature is true in the WELS. Notice how you focused on the ordianation/stole and not on the main issue that she is in the OFFICE OF THE HOLY MINISTRY, (and by the way, where do you find her so called qualifications, Second Maccabees or the WELS handbook?). Funny how you focus on externals, you think a 13 year old vested and wearing a stole is a "caricature", but not that she is in this weighty office.


Anon at 12:35.

I am glad to see that you corrected your previous error that the qualifications are set by the church (Your error? When you wrote. "Christ gave his church the freedom to set this qualification and to define this form of ministry. The same is true today") even if you won't admit it.

But you persist in your error. That the qualification for an apostle was different in this one respect from bishops is due to the foundational aspect of the apostolic ministry and witness. This ministry continues today through the apostolic word by bishops/pastors (who becasue of the nature of time just didn't happen to be alive at the time. Your pastor I assume wasn't alive at the time to witness these things.) Or didn't you know this? This apostolic eyewitness would be continued by those qualified men holding to the apostolic witness/ministry. That is why there is a "difference" but one set by Christ and not by the church. You conclusion that the church can do what Christ says, without a word from Christ, is sheer enthusiasm.

It was Christ who appointed the apostles and set, if you will, the qualification of being an eyewitness, and it is Christ who set the qualifications for being a bishop down in 1 Tim 3 and Titus 2. And now you conclude that the CHURCH, without a word from Christ, can LESSEN the qualifications or change them? Absurd. Gee, where do you find this in the Scriputres? Even granting there is an essential difference between an apostle and a bishop beyond the matter of the foundational nature of the apostolic witness, where is your word of God that says the church can do likewise, that is, set its own qualifications? (By the way, I predicted long ago that the WELS would cast 1 Tim 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-8 away because they interfere with its every broading ministry. Call me Nostradamus, baby!)

And you are confused. You write, "For example, the Apostle Peter and the Pastor Timothy were both in the ministerial office, but they did not have identical qualifications."

What are you talking about? Did they have a different area in which to work, did they have different experiences, abilities. Yes, but these are not "different qualifications" Do you know what the English language? And where, pray tell do you find these different "qualifications?" "Tim, you have to be good with kids, Peter, you're older, you don't." Where did God required a different "qualification (per 1 Tim 3, Titus 1) from one another?

Mark

Anonymous said...

Mark,

Looks like they have no answer, too bad they can't acknowledge it.